Qatar-Gulf crisis: The worst is behind us, says US

Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Doha, gulf nations

Progress has been made towards resolving the crisis between Qatar and its Gulf neighbours after senior US officials met leading players in the standoff, the State Department has said.

“I would characterise the mood and approach as hopeful, which believes that the worst is behind us,” spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters on Tuesday.

 

Earlier, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, whose government accused Qatar of sponsoring extremist groups and had closed its border.

Tillerson and US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis have been working the telephones attempting to de-escalate the crisis between Riyadh and Qatar, which hosts a huge US airbase.

Nauert refused to say whether Washington regards Qatar as a sponsor of terror or whether the closure of the border and ban on Qatari flights in Saudi airspace amount to a “blockade.”

“Let’s keep in mind that everyone has agreed or these parties are working toward an agreement on combating terrorism, and that is the main focus,” she said.

“And let’s not get bogged down in all the details about who’s calling what when. This is trending in a positive direction. And let’s stay focused on that so that we can continue to fight the war on terror.”

Earlier, appearing alongside Tillerson – who last week had urged that the “blockade” be eased – Jubeir had insisted: “It’s not a blockade.”

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